Zhang Zhehan may have just found himself an unexpected defender in industry bigwig Li Xuezheng. Things didn’t start out that way though as his original intent in posting a video (which now has more than 1.94 million views) was to raise awareness and question the potential overreach of China’s Association of Performing Arts (CAPA) when it published their boycott list earlier in the week, and its legality.
As the director of the Golden Shield Television Centre, Li Xuezheng (Teacher Li or Uncle Li as the internet now fondly calls him) who also produced the hit drama In the Name of the People has been in the film and TV industry for a long time and it can be said that he definitely knows all its ins and outs. A few days ago, the seasoned industry veteran shared a video to his 1.143 million followers on social media questioning how the blacklist published by CAPA was compiled – by what criteria were the names included in the list were evaluated and whether the Association which is actually a business entity (and not a regulatory body) even had the legal authority to impose any sanctions.
In his posts, Li Xuezheng emphasised that him raising these questions was not in any way to boycott CAPA’s work nor was it to contest the punishment of “bad” artists. On the contrary, he said he firmly supports improving the industry and ensuring sanctions are meted out effectively. What is important however, is that there should be a legitimate procedure being followed. Li Xuezheng also cautioned against internet “mob rule” which he says is detrimental to the industry in the long run.
Why Was Zhang Zhehan Lumped Together with the Two Others?
Kris Wu, Zheng Shuang and Zhang Zhehan are the only actors who made it into CAPA’s list which is predominantly composed of livestreamers highlighted for their bad behaviour and negative influence. For these three, the consequences are quite dire as it spells a very bleak chance of ever making a comeback through the highly lucrative live streaming route.
Zhang Zhehan’s inclusion on the list was particularly of interest to Teacher Li. As you now, the actor was cancelled due to a very public outcry after his photos at Yasukuni Shrine as well as his presence in a wedding held at another controversial war shrine in Japan resurfaced online. Teacher Li said that he doesn’t know the Word of Honor actor personally, however, he finds it curious why CAPA had lumped Zhang Zhehan, who Teacher Li reminds everyone was not officially banned or deemed immoral by government bodies such as the NRTA and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, together with Kris Wu, who faces rape charges, and Zheng Shuang, who was found guilty of tax evasion, child abandonment, and illegal surrogacy.
In Zhang Zhehan’s case, even if he wasn’t convicted, putting him together with Kris Wu and Zheng Shuang on the list essentially means he can kiss live streaming as a potential career goodbye.
Taking the Association to Court
Yesterday, Li Xuezheng popped up another post on social media saying that while his original purpose was to raise awareness to ensure the Association follows procedure, he now says he wants his team of lawyers to help Zhang Zhehan file a lawsuit against the Association. “If the court has evidence that Zhang violated relevant laws, then they can convict him. If however the court cannot convict him, the Association must apologise to him, restore his reputation and shoulder the financial losses.”
Li Xuezheng is himself now the subject of questionable rumours and censorship online as he said some of his posts have been taken down or that he is unable to post. Which is why if you hop on to his Weibo page, you’ll find multiple reposts of the same video and statements in case it’s deleted.